In the spirit of the soul‐searching seventies, physicists are now uneasily questioning the pace of physics and its proper place in society. They view with foreboding the changes in slope of the funding and employment curves that, along with assessments of changes in public attitudes, are the major social indicators of the health of the physics community. The immediate impact and long‐range threat of reduced research funds, slackening employment opportunities and lower public esteem for physics are the apparent causes for concern. Threatened or imminent hard times are especially difficult to take on the heels of the high expectations that good times engender. This public statement by a distinguished physicist aptly characterizes the situation:
Hard times raised hard questions that were not answered in the 1930's and remain on the agenda now.